Sunday 25 September 2016

Autism affects 1% of population

Published 12/04/2016 | 02:30

Around 1pc of the population is affected by autism.
Around 1pc of the population is affected by autism.

Autism affects around 1pc of the population in Ireland, similar to rates from recent studies in America and the UK.

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Researchers at Dublin City University School of Nursing and Human Sciences administered a screening questionnaire to parents of almost 8,000 national school children in mainstream and special education schools across Cork, Waterford and Galway.

The total number of children identified with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder was 63, giving a prevalence rate of 1.0pc. Within special education schools in the study regions, 36 children were identified with an autism diagnosis, giving an estimated 52pc prevalence rate for this population.

Dr Mary Rose Sweeney, one of the principal investigators of the report, commented: "The process of screening and diagnosing autism spectrum disorders is complex, requiring input from multiple social, educational, medical and psychological services. Standardising the diagnosis process across all these stakeholders will allow us to better determine prevalence rates across the country and correspondingly deliver more effective policy responses to autism spectrum disorders."

Recommendations of the report include the continued monitoring of prevalence rates over time in Ireland, a register of all children diagnosed and economic evaluation of the costs of intervention.

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